LAC Code of Conduct
(Ottawa, March 22, 2013) - The Canadian
Library Association urges Library and Archives Canada to revisit its
Code of Conduct in order to strike a more even balance between
the duty of loyalty to the Government of Canada that all public servants
have and the freedom of expression that is imperative to the work of
librarians in a strong democracy.
The LAC Code of Conduct: Values and
Ethics restricts unnecessarily the ability of librarians and
information professionals to perform key aspects of their work, namely
teaching and speaking at conferences and other public engagements. The
conditions placed upon those activities, and the categorization of those
activities as ‘high risk,’ effectively eliminate the
possibility that librarians may engage in essential elements of their
work, elements that benefit both themselves and the greater professional
community as well as the public good.
The language of the LAC Code also
appears to infringe unnecessarily on the personal activities and
opinions of public servants beyond the workplace. While we recognize a
duty of loyalty to the Government of Canada and its elected officials, a
reasonable balance must be maintained in recognizing that public
servants also have a first duty of loyalty to Canadians at large.
The Canadian Library Association Position
Statement on Intellectual Freedom states that both employees and
employers in libraries have a duty, in addition to their institutional
responsibilities, to uphold the principles of freedom of expression,
including the responsibility "to guarantee and facilitate access to all
expressions of knowledge and intellectual activity."
We recognize that, as public servants, LAC
employees also have a duty to uphold the principles contained in the
Government of Canada’s Values and Ethics Code for the Public
Sector, including the duty to "use resources responsibly by
acquiring, preserving and sharing knowledge and information." If
employees of Library and Archives Canada are unable to teach and to
speak publicly, they are unable to perform their work as information
professionals and as public servants.
A strong leadership role is expected of our
national institution, including an expectation that LAC librarians
participate in and contribute to innovation in the profession, in
education, and in the field at large for the benefit of all Canadians.
The professional expertise and leadership of LAC archivists and
librarians are essential to national progress in making our documentary
heritage accessible to all.
The Canadian Library Association urges Library
and Archives Canada to revisit its Code of Conduct and to
continue to encourage its employees to share their professional
experience and professional expertise through teaching, speaking at
conferences, and appearing at public engagements.
President, Canadian Library Association